Restricting Children’s Sugar Intake: The Most Effective Tips For Parents

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald November 07, 03:10 am
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Parents aren't always around to limit their kids' consumption of sweets. How can parents restrict their kids' sugar intake then? Here are some effective tips from experts.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Curbing children's sugar intake can be challenging for parents. Moms and dads aren't always around to limit their kids' consumption of sweets. For instance, lollipops, cakes and candies can make their way into children's tummies at school without parents knowing.

With this unpredictability, how can parents restrict their kids' sugar intake? Here are some effective tips from experts.

In August, the American Heart Association issued a tougher recommendation regarding children's sugar intake. Children aged between two and 18 should only consume no more than six teaspoons (or around 100 calories or 25 grams) of added sugar every day. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, meanwhile, advised people to consume less than 10 percent of added sugars from daily diets.

Dr. Miriam Vos, an associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said that children who have diets with added sugars are on the path to weight gain, obesity, fatty liver disease, abnormal cholesterol and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, CNN listed. Kathy Isoldi, a registered dietitian nutritionist and associate professor of nutrition at Long Island University in New York, said that added sugars can make a child crave for more of the stuff.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2014 Statistics Report found that more than 10,000 youth in America are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually in 2008 and 2009. More than 5,000 of America's youth were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year in the same time period.

Despite sugar's negative effects on health, Isoldi said that it's unwise for parents to deprive children of sweets. Kids who rarely eat sweets often feel deprived and as a result, don't know how to regulate their sugar intake and often overeat whenever the opportunity presents itself, according to a separate report from CNN.

Isoldi said that children should "find a balance with food" and should learn how to enjoy healthy foods and sweet treats side-by-side. One sweet treat or dessert every day "will create a restrictive environment that is counterproductive," Isoldi added.

Isoldi also advised parents to avoid storing soda, fruit drinks and sugary beverages in the house. Water with lemon, lime or other fresh fruit can serve as alternatives for sugar-sweetened beverages.

"Natural" sources of sugar such as fruits and honey shouldn't be overlooked by parents as well. These natural sugars also contain fructose and glucose or carbohydrates. Honey, for instance, is sweeter than table sugar and carries more calories.

What tricks have you employed to limit your child's sugar intake? Share your thoughts below.

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